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B’desh confers Award of Liberation War Honour on Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Dhaka: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today received on behalf of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bangladesh’s prestigious Liberation War Honour for his “active role” in the country’s freedom struggle, saying the BJP veteran was an “inspiration” to him and other political workers.

President Abdul Hamid handed over the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour to Modi at a glittering ceremony at Bangabhaban, the President’s house, as 90-year-old Vajpayee is ailing and unable to travel.

The function was attended by Premier Sheikh Hasina, her Cabinet colleagues, eminent citizens, diplomats and top Bangladeshi officials.

Modi, while receiving the honour, hailed Vajpayee’s leadership, saying the “great leader” was a source of inspiration for political workers including him.

“This day is a matter of great pride for all Indians that a great leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee is being honoured. He dedicated his entire life to the service of the country and he fought for the rights of the common man and from a political point of view he was an inspiration for political workers like myself,” Modi said after receiving the award.

Recalling Vajpayee’s support to Bangladesh’s freedom struggle, Modi said Bharatiya Jana Sangh, under Vajpayee’s leadership had organised a Satyagraha supporting the Liberation War and as a “young volunteer” he had come from his village to attend it.

The Prime Minister said as a young volunteer, he along with every Indian, wanted the dream of Bangladeshi people to come true.

“When you fought a battle of pride, I was also among the Indians who whole-heartedly wanted your dream to come true,” Modi said to a thunderous applause.

“When muktijodhas (freedom fighters) of Bangladesh were shedding blood, Indians too were fighting side-by-side to help people of Bangladesh realise their dream,” he said.

Modi said even though Vajpayee was in Opposition, he was able to “offer a direction” to India on the issue of Bangladesh’s freedom struggle.

“This is being remembered here today for which I express my gratitude. If Atalji’s health permitted and he was present here, this occasion would be very different,” he said.

Modi also quoted from Vajpayee’s speech in Parliament on December 6, 1971. “Today for Bangladesh’s freedom, the liberation fighters and Indian jawans are fighting side-by-side by shedding their blood. This blood will give rise to such a relationship which will not break under any pressure,” Modi quoted Vajpayee as saying.

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